Ralph Merrifield was born in Barre Vermont in 1957. He remembers singing "Away In The Manger" at age six,imagining at that time what it would be like to have his name in the composer index of the hymnal! While attending Mansfield High School, he learned guitar, listened to the Beatles, became active in band & chorus. He attended Westfield State College as a Music Composition major. At that time he became involved with the local ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Upon graduation, he married his wife in 1979. From 1983-1986, they were involved with the First Congregational Church (Hopkinton MA). In 1986, they and several other families were sent out by that church to plant a new congregation. This new church (New Hope Chapel in Westboro MA)continues today. In 1990, Ralph started folding his choruses into Sunday morning worship. The pastor and elders of New Hope Chapel encouraged him to
develop and expand this songwriting Ministry. Thus began New Hope Publications (later renamed New Hope Music).